BRE’s technical director grew up in Germany. She was recently elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Quite a few come to mind, and for all of those I have been lucky to have the support of a great team. A challenge, that I had only myself to rely on, was moving from Germany to the UK to develop, research, complete and write my PhD in structural engineering – in my third language!
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
That radical ideas are not enough. They require continual work, nuanced debate and non-stop learning to make them real, every day.
Why did you choose construction as a career?
My dad was my biggest influence. He was a structural/civil engineer and really opened my eyes in my mid-teens to how this industry and its people are shaping the world around us.
What have you worked on that you are most proud of?
I have been privileged to support some of the most innovative projects in the UK and abroad. Bringing innovation to the construction and performance of the Leadenhall Building in the City of London was a great experience throughout and one I am reminded of every time I see the London skyline.
Most helpful advice you were given?
Gut Ding will Weile haben: For good things to happen, have patience.
What’s your favourite building in the world?
It’s difficult, as there are so many great ones. There are only a few that one gets to experience and interact with the way they were intended.
I really loved everything about Tadao Ando’s Conference Pavilion in Weil am Rhein. It was his first building outside Japan, built in and around the native cherry trees of the plot. Being there was like magic.
What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?
Construction needs diversity of talent to thrive and progress. You are that talent, stay with it, be you and make your voice heard.
Who do you most admire in the construction industry?
The innovators and early adopters of our industry; for the courage to go first and for embracing and investing in the teamwork and culture that is required to achieve safety, sustainability and quality.
What famous building do you wish you had worked on?
Not a building but hopefully acceptable: The Brooklyn Bridge in New York. So much innovation – and I would have loved to see Emily Roebling in action!
Which famous building do you most dislike?
I cannot think of a specific one but I do tend to dislike buildings where form and function fail to work in harmony.
What is it like being you?
The best is if the day can start with a cat moment, spending time on a good cause and reading some non-fiction. I am a huge fan of Joan Didion and Olivia Laing.
What do you think your best quality is?
The energy I bring to things I am passionate about.
What trait do you most dislike in yourself?
That I am (very!) last-minute. It gives me such a buzz but is so hard on everybody around me!
And in other people?
Do you have a life philosophy?
Not really. I just to try and take every day as it comes and make the most of all experiences, good and not so good.
Name three things that you like
An espresso with something sweet and podcasts.
What is a secret skill we don’t know you have?
I am a dressage rider and have trained horses since I was 12 years old.
What is your most prized possession?
I am not sure I could pick just one, but I definitely could not be without my e-reader and my Mac.
Early bird or night owl?
Realistically neither as I love my sleep. Maybe more night owl than early bird though.
What is your favourite food?
It’s difficult as I have always been surrounded by so much great food, great cooks and many influences. I will have to pick something sweet: Frankfurter Kranz – a famous German “torte” from the area I grew up in!
What would your superpower be?
I have had to get advice on this from an expert (my son, aged 11). I am settling on time travel – dizzying possibilities!
Julie Bregulla is technical director, Assurance, BRE Group